"The best GameBoy Advance launch title."

In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 you pick one of fifth-teen possible characters and perform many stunts and tricks on a variety of skate parks while improving your character's statistics. This game was developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision.

Game Statistics
6 skate parks.
1 secret skate park.
3 game modes.
13 selectable characters.
2 secret characters.
Battery backed memory to save progress.
64-megabit cartridge.

Game Design
Many skeptics didn't think that a GameBoy Advance version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would play as well as the console versions. In THPS2 you choose a skater and skate in skate parks. In each skate park there are specific goals that must be attained. Accomplishing a goal will earn you cash. The money can be used to improve your skater's statistics, buy new decks or buy new tricks. The farther you progress in the game, the more your skater will improve. However, as you progress, the goals will become much harder to obtain. The game play of the GameBoy Advance version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is just as good; if not, better then the console versions. Essentially what Vicarious Visions did was take the levels from the console version and used a ¾ overhead view. The camera angle change does not hinder the game play.

The graphics in this game are quite impressive. The skaters in this game are 3-D polygonal characters. Vicarious Visions did a great job in creating polygonal characters so early in the life cycle of the GameBoy Advance. The polygonal characters are well animated. The animation of the skaters is comparable to the console versions. Because the GameBoy Advance is not a 3-D platform, texture mapping is virtually non-existent. The polygons are simply coloured. Even with polygonal characters the framerate doesn't slow down. The levels, of course, are not polygonal they are ACM rendered backgrounds. While the levels are graphically technically impressive, they are not that artistically impressive. Many of the colours and patterns used are boring. Perhaps something should have been done to make the colours livelier and vibrant. All in all, this game looks great.

The sound effects in this game are great. When you are skateboarding, you always hear something. The same is true for this game. The skateboard wheels can always be heard. You can tell how faster you are going by the sound of your wheels. When you ollie in the air, you can hear the wheels slowing down; the sound effects in this game are very accurate. When you fall you can hear your skater grunt or scream. When you grind, a grinding sound is heard. The music in this game is excellent. While this game does not contain actual CD-quality alternative rock songs like the console versions, many good alternative rock tunes were created for this game. The music in this game represents the game's overall skateboarding theme.

The controls scheme allows you to pull of stunts with relative ease. However, maneuvering your skater may take some time to get used to. Turing your skater is a little tricky at first in that pressing left or right will turn the skater to his left or right, not left or right on the screen. It is just something that the gamer must get used to through experience. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 does not have the greatest control scheme, however, it does the job just fine.

This game is quite enjoyable. The gamer will feel a sense of accomplishment when goals are achieved. While some goals are extremely challenging, the gamer will never feel that a challenge is impossible. Gamers will enjoy improving their character's statistics. Many gamers will enjoy the Free Skate mode, which allows them to skate with no time limit on any unlocked level. The Free Skate mode is a great way for a gamer play for 5-10 minutes if they don't have that much time on their hands.

Replay Value/Game Length
While this game is not extremely long (only 7 total skate parks) there are many things to do if you are willing to do them. For example, completing the game with all the characters will unlock secrets. There is a gap checklist for each level. Gaps are certain types of stunts that are specific to an area of a skate park. One may with the complete the gap checklist. Some gaps are extremely challenging. However, there are codes available that allow the gamer to cheat. The replay value score would have been increased if these codes were not programmed into the game.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is an excellent handheld game. It is the best GameBoy Advance launch title.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/15/02, Updated 03/15/02

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